Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

UK Man Foils Ghosts

  1. Jan 30, 2004 #1
    UK Man "Foils" Ghosts


    Current Science, Jan 19, 2001
    Ghosts Busted in Haunted Rooms

    "Vic Tandy, a computer expert, was working late one night in a laboratory in Warwick, England, which had a history of being haunted. At one point, a cold sweat and a feeling of depression overcame Tandy. Then a blurry gray figure appeared out of the corner of his eye. As he turned to the ghostly figure, it disappeared!
    By coincidence, Tandy, who is a fencing enthusiast, took his fencing foils to the lab with him the next day. He clamped the blade of one foil in a vise in order to oil it. Returning with the oil, he found the blade vibrating like a tuning fork.
    Tandy figured that a fan in the laboratory had created an infrasound wave, one below the range of human hearing. The vibrations of the sound wave had caused the foil to quiver. Tandy measured the vibrations at 18.9 hertz (cycles per second.

    Tandy also knew that the human eyeball shakes when exposed to a soundwave of about 18 hertz (Hz). Putting two and two together, he deduced that what he had seen was no ghost; it was simply blurry vision caused by the shaking of his eyeballs.

    Later, Tandy took his instruments to a famous haunted cellar in Conventry, England, and tested for infrasound there. Sure enough, the instruments registered the existence of an infrasound wave in the cellar that peaked at 18.9 Hz. Another ghost busted!"

    Here is a more comprehensive write up of the story:

    Fortean Slips: Spooky Acoustics

    Here's a report of his visit to another "haunted" site.


    Here's an E-Mail he wrote someone I found on google:

    RootsWeb: ORCADIA-L Re: [ orcadia>] Vic Tandy
    Address:http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/ORCADIA/2001-06/0993717998 Changed:12:46 AM on Thursday, June 28, 2001

    I think this guy is very cool.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2004 #2

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I have been working on this one Zooby. I am having a bit of trouble finding the NASA tech note so I am making a post in the Astronomy forum to see if someone else can find it.

    I am building a low freq source and testing this myself. I will let you know when I have it running...later this week I expect. If I have trouble this could take a couple of weeks or more, but I don't expect this to be THAT difficult.

    Let's see if I can spook myself. If this is not too difficult, perhaps others here at PF can try this as well.

    This seems to be outside of the normal response of most speakers and amps. I checked with an audiophile who started citing high end equipment as the solution...to the tune of a few thousand bucks, so I am contemplating other options for a high amplitude low frequency source; preferably with variable waveform shapes, amplitudes and frequencies.

    My alternative hypothesis is that ghosts produce 18.9 Hz infrasound.

    Really I find the subject very interesting; though I suspect it has been accepted a little to quickly since good sources of information on the effects of infrasound [IS] seem to be hard to find. Since I haven't looked for awhile I will be checking again for other sources. I find many wild claims associated with IS that appear to be unsubstantiated. These include the ability to cause loss of bodily functions, loss of consciousness, orgasms, any number of mental states of anxiety, euphoria, depression etc. Obviously to some degree these claims are true, but I question the energy levels required and the likelihood of the effects claimed in many specific circumstances.

    Any links to good papers on IS and ideas for a sound generator are appreciated.

    Edit: um, make that effects, not affects...let me see, one's a noun, one's a verb
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2004
  4. Feb 1, 2004 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Hey Ivan,

    I'm really interested in this also, but I can't find anything either. This is the closest thing I found on infrasound that had tests on humans.

    http://ntp-server.niehs.nih.gov/htdocs/Chem_Background/ExSumPdf/Infrasound.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  5. Feb 1, 2004 #4
    I'm not aware of any formal studies but I haven't looked for any.

    What have you guys tried googling?
  6. Feb 2, 2004 #5
    If I were going to undertake such a thing I would go for a low tech approach that might more closely resemble what might naturally occur. I'd find a large diameter pipe, calculate the length needed for a resonant frequency of 18.9, then figure out the easiest way to "sound" the pipe. That might involve sticking a diaphram over one end and vibrating it at the resonant frequency with a solenoid, or even mechanically with a piston and a variable speed motor. The best way, though, would be to sound it by configuring one end as a whistle the way they design organ pipes and blow into it with a bellows. The big 16 foot base pipes on a church organ can make a window rattle with very little air pressure. (You'll need volume, though.) The difficulty would be tuning it. I don't know what kind of instrument you need to get accurate info on frequencies outside human hearing.

  7. Feb 2, 2004 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I've googled the NASA Tech doc references, searched for them at the NASA website, nothing comes up. I googled on quite a number of things, but most are rather questionable sites, all claiming that NASA has done research that has supported Tandy's findings, but none ever give any details on the reports, including a paranormal website that is working with him & will be selling his "devices". So I've been looking for any research on infrasound and it's effects on humans. What I posted above was the only legitimate research I could find.

    I think the infrasound theory might explain a lot, if it's true.
  8. Feb 2, 2004 #7
    Well, I spent about an hour poking around and couldn't find anything that was online. I did find references to a couple studies in old journals. Outside Tandy, this doesn't seem to be a big topic for scientific studies.

    There was alot of mention of the fact that elephants produce infrasound. Also, sperm whales kill their prey with it. A marine biologist messing around with a beached sperm whale was knocked back from the beast when it blasted him with a punch of infrasound. I also recall seeing a movie of a diver getting taken in the jaws of a baby sperm whale and then released. She said in a later interview she could feel it's infrasound signals throbbing over her body while it was checking her out before grabbing her.
  9. Feb 2, 2004 #8

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It is possible that due to the military applications for IS the original work has been classified. However, it seems that Tandy had access to this so I'm a little stumped right now. I know that a number of reliable sources of defense technology news, like America's Defense Monitor...no longer being produced but a great show, have mentioned IS weapons and their usage. I am going to email Tandy next and ask for help.

    Thanks for the paper Evo; I will read later today...gotta work...darn those evil customers!

    A sidebar: I played around with pulse jet technology some years ago. A wacko friend had a great interest in this.... Pulse jet propulsion was first developed by the Germans and was used on the infamous Buzz Bombs that rained down around London in WWII. The sound produced by these engines [which can be made with no moving parts by the way], is very loud and occupies a very broad spectrum of low frequencies. Some years ago some genius got the idea that this technology could be used for rice dryers. Since the rice can pass right through the combustion chamber with no ill effects, the efficiency and speed of the flash drying process seemed ideal for the application. So, they built a pulse jet of enormous size to handle the mass flow [of rice] required. The first time they fired up the engine it was so loud that a number of people threw up and passed out! Whoops! The project was abandoned.

    Zooby, I agree, It would seem that a large flute is the best option. It seems that I must come up with 55 feet of large diameter pipe… Do you think the local farmers would miss their irrigation pipes if they disappeared overnight?
  10. Feb 2, 2004 #9

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I would like to have some idea of what level of infrasound intensity becomes dangerous. This is so that I don't do anything embarrassing when I turn it on; like poop my pants.
  11. Feb 2, 2004 #10
    That's a fascinating story about the pulse jet. (I actually expected it to end turning out to be the way Rice Crispies were discovered, though.)

    I do believe you are grossly exaggerating the size of the pipe you would need. The 16 foot base organ pipes I spoke of are already on the verge of infrasound. They are about 6 inches dia.

    An interesting alternative would be two higher pitched pipes slightly out of tune such that they "beat" at 18.9 cps. Chroot is a whiz at accoustical phenomena. I'd check with him.

  12. Feb 2, 2004 #11

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That's really a great idea! In this case I prefer that no audible frequencies are present to that I can crank up the volume and leave it running without any other annoying noise to contend with.

    I wonder how my cats will react. We had to put down our last dog a few weeks ago so the puppy torture will have to wait.
  13. Feb 2, 2004 #12
    Yeah, this wouldn't work then, since "beats" are always at a considerably lower frequency than the tones producing them. The tones producing them would have to be in the audible range, to "beat" in the infrasonic range.

    I would imagine this is why industrial fans seem to be responsible for infrasound so often: two identical fans but placed such that there is more drag on one than the other causing it to run a touch slower such that an infrasound "beat" is produced. The fans, though, have to be making audible noise to begin with.
  14. Feb 2, 2004 #13


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Have you thought of just using an audio amp with a subwoofer? Making a 18.9Hz oscillator and attaching it to the amp input would be easy. You will still get sounds from the walls shaking however. It may also shake something loose in you. My susgestion; turn if off when it hurts.
  15. Feb 2, 2004 #14
    And I'm also curious as to what an infrasonic frequency detector would consist of.

    Frequently here in San Diego I am conscious of a rumbling sensation that seems to be coming up from the floor and I always wonder if it is a mini-quake, the result of heavy traffic on a nearby highway, or extreme base from a sound system somewhere I can't directly hear.

    It would be cool to have an infrasound detector to see if I could sort this out.

  16. Feb 2, 2004 #15

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I understand that fencing foils make nice detectors.

    Really though, sympathetic resonance should be easy to produce in any properly constructed mechanical oscillator. Shouldn't be too difficult to make...I will pass along anything that I come up with. I will need a detector as well. I am told that a subwoofer is still down in the mud for producing sound at <20Hz; too much signal attenuation. Apparently the speaker will also cease to resonant properly due to the electrical characteristics of the coil. I am told that his will create a low impedance load that could overload the circuit. As I indicated, one can purchase equipment designed to operate at these low frequencies, but this gets too expensive for my purposes. I think this may work well the other way though. A large speaker and an O-scope may be good enough as a detector.

    Also, I am wondering about our creek. It produces a lot of low freq noise. I also wonder about the examples of wind induced madness.

    OK now I really have to work!
  17. Feb 2, 2004 #16
    This is somewhat related- film crew from PBS at Radio Oservatory West Va.-

    "One day, while our crew was working at Green Bank, something humorous happened. Our production crew was in the control room for the old 300 foot radio telescope -- which I believe was the largest in the world at the time. Either a scientist or technician was showing us a graphic print out of what the dish was picking up.
    When we first began looking at the printout the technician explained how we were seeing random background noise. But the printout's pattern suddenly changed to indicate that a strong narrow band signal had just broke through the steady hash! The tech muttered something to himself -- howbeit out loud -- something like, "... That’s strange ..." Then -- while we were all still watching -- it happened again! Then once more! The technician obviously tried to contain his excitement, but he hastily called another person over to look at the printout. By this time our crew had also begun to watch the print out. And for a moment -- we hoped that perhaps we were watching history in the making. (picking up radio signals from ET)
    Our crew’s photographer, who had been taking pictures (with the same Nikon I had tried to use before) around the control room, was now bug-eyed like the rest of us and clicking away. Then suddenly -- we noticed how the printout registered the strange signal every time our photographer snapped a picture and the electronic flash began to sing as it recharged its high voltage flash potential. Sure enough, the sensitive electronic radio frequency detection equipment had been picking up the strobe’s regeneration circuitry in the flash unit!"


    light 'flashing' at certain rate will produce 'hallucinations' and or physical effects-latest example was the Japanese cartoon show-- or driving along in a car with sun-light 'blinking' through trees can produce very disorienting effects....number of experiments with this-in a 'closet'-- and watching movies at different 'flicker rates'.....

    i'm guessing 'sounds' may be able to cause similiar effects (note:not everything we 'hear' is coming through our ears .
  18. Feb 2, 2004 #17


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Ivan, I think the paper I posted may give you an idea of safe parameters to work with. It also appears that you should not expose yourself to infrasound at low levels for very long?
  19. Feb 3, 2004 #18

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Hello Mr. Tandy,
    I was trying to find the NASA Technical Report 19770013810 as cited as a source of information about the effects of infrasound. I have had no luck finding this and was hoping that you might provide a little guidance.

    Many thanks,
    ******* [Ivan]

    Hi ****** [Ivan]
    NASA always have a job turning this up... tell them it was done by a
    contractor. Contractor stuff is held in a different place it would seem.

    Good luck


    Hello Vic,
    Thanks for your response. Do you have a date, author, or title. This might help tremendously.

    Many thanks again,
    ******** [Ivan]
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2004
  20. Feb 3, 2004 #19


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Bah! Everyone knows ghosts vibrate at 18.9Hz.

  21. Feb 3, 2004 #20

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Clearly this is why we feel anxiety when exposed to 18.9 Hz infrasound. This is an evolved trait.

    I am after this guy just a little. To me his story doesn't seem to add up. I'm not convinced as such, but something about this claim strikes me as bogus. I was thinking at first that 19 Hz is too low of a frequency for a foil to resonate, but considering the flexibility of these rods I could be wrong. Next, the frequencies seem a little too specific for my expectations. For example, one article cites that someone noticed that reports of ghosts in one building increased with increasing room size. This would imply that all but one room had "real" ghosts, or these claims are bogus, and the properly sized room allowed for resonance, and the claims from this room were legit. Next, his lack of details in citing THE critical source of information bothers me as well. I bet that Evo has the same suspicions. However, my mind is open and I make no judgments. He could just be a little lazy about his sources.

    This is why I want to try this myself. Besides, it could be very useful tool when dealing with clients...it might work even better than a big chair!

    btw, that was just a joke. I would never expose anyone to something like this without their knowledge; or likely even with their knowledge. There is too much potential liablity.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2004
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads for Foils Ghosts Date
Ghosts vs Science Jul 12, 2017
News FBI Foils Plot To Build X-Ray Weapon Jun 19, 2013
News Old technology foils Schwarzenegger's wage order Jul 3, 2010
Aluminum foil hats Sep 14, 2007
Foil Helmets Can't Foil Government Mind Probes Nov 14, 2005